Long overdue

Most rational observers do not want government activities expanded or cabinet departments added. Yet this columnist wants a new family ministry established. 

The family is the foundation of our society, but its activities are scattered throughout the different governments.

There should be one central place where everything involved in the government concerning the family should have its headquarters. Most people have no idea where they can approach the federal government, for example, on family matters. Firstly, there should be a Ministry of the Family call centre, fully knowledgeable, to direct the client to the designated department. Importantly, from there, expert consultants need to be assigned in an advisory capacity to guide one through the specific steps to be taken –  names and telephone numbers of trained personnel and to organize appointments – all prior to a meeting with the counsellor/therapist/lawyer or whomever.  The same consultant would follow the client through the whole process to the culmination of the objective.

There are myriad stories of fretful parents, children, teens, couples, all in need, all individuals who stressfully have tried manoeuvring through the labyrinth of well meaning government departments and/or do good organizations only to get lost in the shuffle. So much run around when calling various ministries. Time costs money for all concerned, especially taxpayers, if non-relevant information is given and the person seeking help is forwarded again to another department/person, having to ask the same questions numerous times and then end up without results.

Most people lack the skills to handle these kinds of problems, yet nothing is more important for our future.

Where does one start when faced with a wide range of possibilities within the federal, provincial and municipal governments but after hours of searching, one ends up with nothing concrete?  Child welfare, Children’s Aid, all areas of family breakdown, marriage, divorce, abusive situations, drug addiction, caring for aging parents, student school problems, learning difficulties – the list of family involvement is endless but all are very important to our communities and need to be under one ministry, one umbrella; the first “go to” when sourcing assistance. 

Heretofore, church organizations tried to fill those roles but with increasing secularization, people are searching for new avenues to obtain help and answers.  To assist with these activities, schools, colleges and universities should offer courses to implement existing programs or establish new approaches.

By having one place where so many of these problems can be handled properly, the benefits would be astounding.



Bruce Whitestone